Blake, Fish advance to SAP Open semis
James Blake beat fellow American Sam Querrey 7-6 (9), 6-3 to advance to the SAP Open semifinals on Friday, setting up an intriguing meeting with doubles teammate Mardy Fish.sports Updated: Feb 14, 2009 09:22 IST
James Blake beat fellow American Sam Querrey 7-6 (9), 6-3 to advance to the SAP Open semifinals on Friday, setting up an intriguing meeting with doubles teammate Mardy Fish.
Blake hung on to win despite rolling his ankle with two points to go, reaching the semis shortly after Fish, his close friend and teammate, upset Juan Martin del Potro.
After Fish and Blake meet in a semifinal on Saturday, they'll team up for a doubles. They won the doubles title at San Jose in 2004, and both say their games improve when they're working together.
"There won't be any hard feelings," third-seeded Blake said with a grin. "There better not be any hard feelings, or there might be a serve to the back of the head. ... Hopefully, we can go out to dinner tonight, play each other tomorrow, and then go out to dinner again."
Fifth-seeded Fish beat second-seeded del Potro 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first semifinals since August.
Andy Roddick was scheduled to face Germany's Tommy Haas in a late quarterfinal.
Querrey caused ample trouble for Blake, particularly in a tense first-set tiebreak. The 11th-ranked veteran overcame it while fighting off a variety of minor injuries.
After dropping out of an exhibition against Pete Sampras on Monday because of back problems, Blake turned his ankle while trying to follow up a drop shot during the final game against Querrey. After staying down on the court for several moments, Blake got up gingerly, but finished the last points in his victory. "All I did was tie my shoe real tight to make sure if it was going to swell, it wasn't going to swell right then," said Blake, who reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open in his only previous action this year.
Last year, Blake was hobbled by a knee injury in a quarterfinal loss to Robby Ginepri. He hasn't reached a tournament final since last April at the U.S. men's clay court championships in Houston. "It seems like every year I come here and end up getting a little injured," Blake said. "It's hard-court, indoors, in the US, which is everything I like. I don't know what it is ... (but) the ankle won't be an issue, and the back is so much better." Fish gave part of the credit for his solid singles play to his doubles work with Blake. The extra court time has sharpened Fish's volleying and aggressive instincts, he claimed after disposing of del Potro.
Fish, who eliminated Lleyton Hewitt in the first round, fired 19 aces against del Potro, who lost his serve twice and couldn't break Fish and lost for only the second time this year. Del Potro won his fifth title in Auckland, New Zealand last month.
"I was able to serve great today," Fish said. "And as much as you can with him, I dictated from the baseline with the backhand. When he's got control of a point, it's almost impossible to get it away."